Sunday, January 30, 2011

Early Modern Wisdom

Fun quote from the not-so-fun night of thesis writing:

On the doorway of Doctor Zacharias Ursinus at Heidelberg, circa 1590:

"My friend, whoever you are, if you come here, please either go away again, or give me some help in my studies."
-Fox-Bourne's Life of Sidney, qtd. in Howard 43.

This might have to go on the door of my study carrel.

Friday, January 28, 2011

News on the Thesis Front

Prospectus approved!

Orlando has been given approval to commence normal growth patterns.

Whatever that means.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Allow me to introduce...

  • Orlando was "born" about three weeks ago and is currently 10 pages long. It should come as no surprise, then, that...

  • S/he's a little confused about concepts of identity (and gender). As a result...

  • S/he gets more complicated in the telling. Which is a bad thing because...

  • We'll be spending a lot of time together in the next four months. Thankfully...

  • S/he's projected to have a pretty speedy growth rate - about 20 pages every two weeks; however...

  • S/he sometimes goes to sleep for long periods of time and wakes up in a totally different form.

  • S/he should reach full size by the beginning of April; however...

  • S/he's not very good at finishing things; perhaps because...

  • S/he's indecisive and tends to ramble in stream of consciousness. A lot; which is to say...

  • S/he would be a lot cooler if s/he could kill orcs with a bow and arrow or match swords with Johnny Depp. Be that as it may...

  • People are quick to criticize, and s/he'll need a personal defender. (That would be me). Unfortunately...

  • S/he has a hard time staying in one era. S/he just won't stop trying to escape the Renaissance. Oh and did I mention...

  • S/he's a pretty temperamental little thing. Kind of demanding, too.

Oh right, Orlando's my thesis.

And right now, s/he desperately wants approval.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Grad School Truths #594

So very appropriate.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Two Things I Like

1. Sunshine

2. Awesome aerials

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time

This is the time of year when getting up before 10 a.m. begins to feel like a real accomplishment.

The start of the thesis semester for an MA student is a combination of not taking classes, rearranging work schedules, just having written a long, supremely nebulous document about another supremely long, nebulous document that will be defended ages from now and also get the picture.

But I'm realizing that dreading things takes a whole lot more effort than just doing them: like taking down Christmas decorations, responding to emails, opening a book, scheduling appointments, and even getting out of bed.

*Whew! Talk about a productive morning. Now I'm ready for a nap...*

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Kind of the Reverse of a Cover Album

The amazing awkwardness was too much to pass up. Happy Saturday-after-having-successfully-submitted-a-thesis-prospectus, y'all.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Takin' Names, Writin' a Prospectus

Yesterday was a long day of writing very little. Perhaps it's the similarity between a prospectus and a statement of purpose, like those requested by all graduate schools, internships, study abroad programs, fellowship applications, etc. etc. and so forth.

"In 500 words or less, please tell us the meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything. Oh, and if you could also include the way your (research)(skill set)(membership in our scholarly community)(existence) is going to radically alter that meaning, that would be great. And go."

::involuntary shudder::

So instead of writing, I looked at...

My friend Emily's awesome Etsy shop
A cool German photographer's photostream
My friend Sarah's funny video recap of a swing dance
The Humane Society's adoptable pets

In any case, I didn't hit my stride until about 1:15 a.m. And then you know what did it?

I found a sentence that was missing its closing punctuation.

::insert period::

Life is good.

I can write again.

Just like that.

Don't tell me grammar is useless.

(The fact that my ability to write is now curiously and frighteningly like a segment of HTML code will remain on the list of things I don't think about when trying to write my prospectus...)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Top 10 Reasons Why I Blog

There's something about writing a thesis prospectus that produces existential qualms, which in turn lead to quality questioning of the most quotidian aspects of life (and an inexplicable desire to alliterate with the letter "q"). So, while quaffing coffee, I found myself thinking of the following quips about the somewhat-antiquated practice of keeping a blog.


Top 10 Reasons Why I Blog

10. Someone's got to do it.

9. I have something to say. Maybe.

8. At least SOMEONE will listen to me (or at least I can pretend...)

7. It's cheaper than a journal and doesn't require white-out.

6. Job skills: "Familiar with digital media platforms and web publishing."

5. The one in 5,241,678 (million) chance I might be discovered, get a book deal, and win a Blooker Prize.

4. Everyone else [was] doing it [five years ago].

3. Once you start, you can't stop. (See Why Having a Blog is Like Pet-Sitting.)

2. I sold my soul to Google in a Faustus-like bid to survive graduate school.

...and the number one reason why I blog is...

1. Facebook is temporarily unavailable, and I need to procrastinate LATER!!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Resolved: That that that be that.

January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

In celebration, I've decided to return to a tradition begun two years ago, and continued last year--that of the New Year's Un-Resolution, otherwise known as stating the obvious. :-)

In review: this year I did not become addicted to Facebook applications. I still dance around my kitchen on a regular basis, but I try not to crash into the refrigerator. I did read the Twilight books, but still make fun of them. I drank no more or less coffee than I drank this year. comment, Linus. Random comments--check. I do not own rubber rain boots. Artistic talent? ha, but I've added painting glass vases with fabric paint. Griping about shoes--infrequently. Another post like last year's? You're reading it, aren't you?

Well, in that light, I guess I'm obliged. Unless I'm not.

Timpaniroll, please... *\. /*^*\......./**^**

Un-Resolution number ONE

I will not eat my decomposing gingerbread house that has been sitting out for a month.

Un-Resolution number TWO

I will probably in all likelihood with a >1 probability continue to back up my computer files in at least three locations and yet still manage to lose a few by the end of the year.

Un-Resolution number THREE

I will stay strong in my ongoing and bloody battle with all stairs on earth. Stairs on Mercury might be safer. Lower gravity and burning up before you hit the ground and all.

Un-Resolution number FOUR

I will continue to never think about David Lynch's film Inland Empire ever again.

Un-Resolution number FIVE

When I write I will always remember that ridiculously long sentences are challenging for readers to follow because they incorporate so many different elements that the ones with which the sentence began get lost in the ensuing chaos that flows from divergent modes of thought about abstract concepts like the value of utilitarianism or the precise literary interpretation of the scene in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy when the flowerpot chases a white rabbit down a fireplace and eats all the cookies that were meant for Santa.

Un-Resolution number SIX

I will justify the hours I spend on Facebook by dividing that number by the total cups of coffee I consume per week and labeling the whole problem an irrational number symbolized by a Greek word that will be mistaken for a sorority name.

Un-Resolution number SEVEN

I will not spend unnecessary hours in my study carrel. Except in utter desperation.

Un-Resolution number EIGHT

I will not, at the precise moment it is needed, remember where I put the document that I have previously sworn never to need again.

Un-Resolution number NINE

I will not try unsuccessfully to stop smiling in the midst of a good waltz.

Un-Resolution number TEN

I might un-resolve to un-resolve to resolve to fulfill a resolution by failing to fulfill a single resolution I resolved to un-resolve to resolve. Have fun with that one!

Another timpaniroll, just for kicks, and...

Good to meet you 2011!!!